My dad died a little more than two years ago, suddenly, of a heart attack. He was 60, and not in perfect health, but I was under the impression it was improving.
It was a serious shock. My world was turned upside down. I have lost people before, breakups, deaths, sudden shocks—but I’ve never experienced anything like this before. My world unraveled, my sanity unraveled. Grief has been a fascinating process. I have been writing constantly about it, though I’ve only been publishing about 10% of it.
It has changed everything, to lose my dad (and then my partner), and I’m still getting back on my feet.
This is the third father’s day without him. It’s different—being a Daddy in the leather-kink way to this boy whose adoration and devotion I strive every day to deserve, and to whom I offer my adoration and devotion too—it means I think about Father’s Day in a dirty intimate way that is completely different from my own relationship. And yet, when the words are the same, how different are they really? But they are. And they’re related. Maybe they come from the same wound, somehow, or from the same deep need, from the same crevasse filled with diamonds that can slowly be excavated with the right tools. I’m just poeting here, I don’t really know.
As someone who always had a decent if somewhat complicated relationship with my family-of-origin genetically-related dad, Father’s Day was only a moment to call him, say hey, talk about the latest TV sitcom or how his business was going. But now that I’ve got this other relationship to the day, I am feeling into all of you out there who are fatherless kids, who are unfathered or under-fathered, who are fathers or daddies or papas or poppys yourselves, who have that masculine paternalism to whomever or from whomever in your life. It’s more complicated than the Father’s Day of my first 32 years would have told me. I
I was hoping to write up a gift guide for butch daddy presents, but honestly, my feelings are in the way of any masculine accessory thing. You can always check out Butch Basix for inspiration, and search for belt buckles, cuff links, cigar holders, dopp kits, collar stays, or ties at Etsy, and I bet you’ll come up with a thing or two.
Pro Etsy tip: if your butch daddy has some particular love of birds or Texas or motorcycles, put in “cufflinks+motorcycles” or “birds+belt buckles” and get something really rad. If all else fails, add “customize” to any of those and get something with their initials.
I’m actually in Phoenix this weekend, at a leather boy retreat, so I’m curious to see what will come up around Father’s Day for me in the next few days. I’ll be over here, writing. I hope your brunch is epic and your love is radiant.
Here’s a couple things to read for your Father’s Day weekend:
Here it is! The sixth annual holiday gift guide for those of you who need some inspiration for the holidays. You’d be surprised how many folks tell me that they (or their partners) are lousy at gift-giving … it is definitely a skill that, like any skill, gets better when worked on, and it’s something that I love being good at. Sometimes my gifts are duds, but I try and have had some good wins this past year.
A tiny piece of advice? The best thing to do is to hone your observation skills, and keep an eye out for things that they covet, and do a little poking around to see what it is about that shirt/dress/accessory/handbag that is so appealing. It took me a long time to figure out that what Kristen loved most about the purses we kept looking at was a kiss clasp (and then a little longer to figure out what the name for that metal closure dohickey really was), but then I found a really great purse for her last year during the holidays.
I’ve been thinking a lot about the Occupy movement lately … I think it’s really important to put our money where our mouth is and to shop locally and buy from indie and queer artists as much as possible this holiday season. It really does make a difference to make some specific choices about what to do with your money. Spend the time to find things locally, if you can. Spend the time to shop at independent stores. I know it’s more time consuming, but sometimes it can be really easy.
I’ve tried to link to as many local, small business type of places as possible. Sometimes I’m linking to Amazon not necessarily because you should get it there (though if you do, and use my links, thanks for that—I do get a teeny little kickback), but because I’m trying to show you what the product is so you can go find it at whatever source you might have near you.
Neckties … Kristen at some point said she’d never know which to get me, since I have so many. I said, you know, it’s not so much about getting me some special one that I don’t have as much as it’s about picking out one that you like, which will remind me that it came from you when I wear it. She has since bought me two that I really like, a lavender one with filigree that I wear frequently and a striped bowtie that still needs to make its debut. I would love a few more bowties for my collection. I keep going back to thetiebar.com because they have great sorting options, but there are also plenty of local stores and discount outlets (Filene’s, Century 21) that are excellent tie sources. I tend to prefer non-silk ties these days because the silk ones are a little more formal, but then again a good silk tie is pretty darn great. A good tie bar is also a great thing for someone you know with a tie collection … I’d love one with something fun on it, like a personal message on the back (etsy has everything), or little flame.
My cufflink collection is still in progress, I don’t have very many, though the ones I have I really love. I went to get a pair the other day and realized they’re scattered all over the drawer where I keep all my accessories. I could really use a nice box to keep ’em in. And of course, etsy is an amazing source for custom and indy artist cufflinks, they have every type of thing there you could want (and a few you—or I, rather—would certainly not want, like I just caught a glimpse of molar cufflinks). Cuff Daddy has great options, too—I’m still lusting after these Superman cufflinks.
On the more expensive side, I’d love a pair of leather chaps. But I don’t even know where to start to get those … probably the Leatherman here in NYC. That goes on the dream wishlist.
I’m kind of going back to the old staples of butch accessories here, I realize, but these are actually the things at the top of my list this year. I tried to give some ideas and options and not just say “a belt” and “a tie.” Hope that is helpful!
Toys that deserve to be in your toy chest
What’s that? You want to turn it up, buy some explicitly sexy stuff? Oh yes that is a great idea. Here’s a few suggestions for my favorite stuff.
Liberator silk binding sashes. Especially lovely if she (you) likes to be dressed up as a present you (they) can unwrap. Can also be used as a belt for a little black dress. You know, just sayin’.
The new Pete packing briefs from SpareParts (the ones who make that Joque harness that everybody loves). These are comfy and awesome and perfect for a little soft pack. Get ’em at Babeland or your local sex-positive feminist queer sex toy store.
I’m in progress of building a Cock Confidence Product Guide, where I’ll have a bunch of cock-centric stuff listed, like harnesses and accessories, all of which I recommend highly. So if you’re wanting something in that arena as a gift this holiday, know that is coming soon (and why they’re left off here).
I can’t tell you what I’m planning for her this year (obviously, she reads this site), but I can tell you some of the wins from the past year, and I’ll link to the places I got ’em. Mostly Etsy.
I’ve been keeping an eye on these ever since I saw Natalie Portman’s Lolita clutch while she was promoting Black Swan (remember that? I remember looking it up and it was like $258052) and I found an amazing Etsy store I kept checking back on periodically. Eventually I saw a cookbook, with a checkered cherry lining, and it was perfect. Book purse by prettytheory.
Glass cake stand. Tons of places make these, I think I found the one I gave Kristen at Century 21. Here’s one on Amazon. I worried it’d be frivolous and just take up space, but we use it all the time, kind of as a bread box.
Don’t forget the dirty books! Makes great stocking stuffers, if, you know, you’re into that.
Alright! That was all I wrote—now tell me, what do you really want this holiday? Any gifts you are particularly lusting after? Any gifts you gave in the past year or so that were particularly well-received? I’d love to know more gift-giving secrets or tips, if you’ve got ’em.
Valentine’s Day is coming up quick. I know, I know, we only just finished the winter holidays, but it’s true, it’ll be here way before I’m prepared for it, I’m sure.
It’s a stressful one … don’t get me wrong, I’m a romantic, I love making wonderful little gift things that are sweet and romantic and red & pink for this (cheesy) holiday. And then there’s the whole S.A.D. thing – Single’s Awareness Day – where we shouldn’t discriminate against those who aren’t partnered! Right? Right. Oh it’s a challenging holiday.
So hey, let’s do a little give-away, shall we?
Come Together Gift Baskets specializes in sexy, sensual gift baskets made for lesbians by lesbians. These are perfect for saying, “Thank you,” “I love you,” “I want to see you again,” “Happy Anniversary,” or “I’d really like to tie you to the bedpost and have my way with you.” The majority of our products come from woman-owned companies who do not participate in animal testing.
(I’m pretty fond of the Rescue Me basket, myself.)
The fabulous queers behind this site have offered up the controversial (their word, not mine) I Kissed a Girl gift basket, which includes:
I know it’s a bit late for this, but here’s five (fairly traditional) ideas for the masculine-leaning butches and bois and boys and transfolks in your life:
1. Belt Buckles
A good solid belt buckle is an essential butch accessory, in my opinion. I’ve always liked belts, but it took me way to long to graduate from regular buckled belts to belts with detachable and interchangeable buckles – they’re heavier, for one, and they look amazing, plus there are so many styles.
Etsy is amazing for buckles – do a search and include a keyword of one of your butch’s hobbies (like bikes or birds or beer) and it’ll turn up some amazing vintage or handmade results, many for less than $20.
I kind of hate to give it away, but Cuff Daddy is my current favorite place for cufflinks. They have everything! I haven’t even searched through all of their little figures and all the fun categories. They have cufflinks that are watches! Levels! Compasses! I’m currently coveting the Superman emblem cufflinks, myself.
Don’t forget Etsy for cufflinks, too. Ditto to the belt buckles, put in a couple key words – pinup, Obama – and you’ll get all sorts of great results.
Uh, okay, Etsy for-the-win of #1 and #2, I should probably say something else for #3, right? Well, you already know that you can search Etsy for vintage and handmade ties – add a keyword and you’ll come up with awesome skull ties, striped ties, butterfly ties, whatever your butch happens to like.
If that’s not quite fancy enough for ya, perhaps consider a Tie of the Month Club. J Crew is doing one now (it’s a 888 number to sign up, I can’t seem to link to it on their website directly). They’ve got some great ties.
My Butch/Femme Holiday Gift List is getting out of control. I have four pages of notes in my journal, multiple notepad files with links and images. And I just can’t seem to polish it up enough to finish, and fuck, time is running out.
Men’s accessories box
From Red EnvelopeBecause we still have watches, leather cuffs, chains, collar stays, rings, pocketwatches, cuff links … so of course, we must have somewhere fabulous to hold it all!
For someone slightly more punk rock, consider Tomcat Threads for some awesome one-of-a-kind vintage silkscreened ties. I have one of these with a microphone on it, and it’s my favorite tie of all.
Look for somewhat slim, skinny, narrow ties, especially for female-bodied folks who are slender. Cyberoptix has many options in the narrow-tie style.
Via AmazonHandblown glass remake of a classic whiskey tumbler. Perfect for other refined liquors, even if she’s not a bourbon/whiskey/scotch kinda guy. Also consider a flask – even better if it’s engraved with some memorable phrase or image she will love. I wouldn’t recommend something like “to my sweetie, love, me” – it’ll be much more timeless with a personal touch, but not a personalization.
Tiffany Classic Money Clip
From Tiffany & CoEven if she’s more of a wallet kind of guy, a money clip is a good thing to have in the accessory box … and Tiffany’s engraves. Gorgeous, classic.
Also consider Cufflinks from Tiffany, there are some fantastic classic, plain, smooth sets that would be such a great gift.
Gifts for the femme-leaning gal in your life:
Perfume BottleI wouldn’t really presume to buy her her favorite perfume, or a new perfume, unless she asks for it (or hints at it!) specifically, but antique perfume bottles are so beautiful on a dresser or vanity, and hold the scents that she picks out.
LingerieOh, I know. It’s a tough one. You gotta know her size, and have an idea of what she likes – and what you like. Browse around through Princess Tamtam and Agent Provocateur for inspiring ideas.
(Yes, that’s Maggie Gyllanhall over there, modeling Agent Provocateur lingerie. Many other photos of her at the site.)
Shoes. Oh my god, shoes.Shoes are another tough one. I can recommend some good sites, but probably not specific shoes: the Red Door Store has a fantastic selection, as does Endless (and, as a sidenote, I really geek out on the navigation and interface for Endless. Gorgeous).
The Red Door Store has lingerie, costumes, and bondage gear, too …
Vintage Brush & Hand Mirror setThese are kinda hard to find; I bought a set on eBay as a gift for the Unholy ex last year (you may remember that, if you’ve been around. I can’t find the post on it) and I thought it was a brilliant suggestion. The beauty of these items alone, even if they are not used or functional, is such a lovely addition to a vanity or dresser top.
JewelryMan, I feel like I’m going with very cliche femme gifts. Perfume, jewelry, shoes, lingerie? Really, Sinclair? Somebody help me out here, leave more suggestions in the comments, please. Good thing I don’t have anybody special to buy for this year.
Meanwhile: I adore this necklace from Janet Jewelry. You can customize some text to go onto it, or choose some excellent phrases that Janet has already made, like “The best revenge is living well” or “whatever doesn’t kill you makes you stronger.” Super sexy.
More Jewelry … rings, this timeRings are loaded, I know, but if you can go for it, these rings from Amy Peters Studio are amazing and lovely. I want a set for myself, someday.It’s a ring set, three rings with different words on each one: Believe Dream Hope Wish / In About For For / Peace Magic Love Happiness. So they make a little sentence as they rotate on your finger.
I am a submissive, by choice and nature. And though my butch is quite accomodating, there are some things I can’t even imagine her doing unless asked. Brushing my hair, painting my toenails, wearing a sleeveless tee, baggy jeans with a hint of boxers revealed, and Tims, donning toolbelt, hammering and drilling at my command, sweating and…wait, I’m getting ahead of myself. You get my point. In a nutshell, I want a day of servitude from my butch…anything I want for a whole day.
I am currently working on a guide to holiday gifts for the butch or femme in your life. I’ve got plenty of my own ideas, but I want to open it up to comments: what would you love to receive?Specifically, here, I’m thinking of things that are kinda gendered – cuff links, ties, perfume, silver-handled dresser set. But I’m open to all suggestions!
Hmm, and while we’re on the subject, What about sex toys? What toy have you always wanted? What are the best basic toys to have in every collection?
I got my very own Fluffer Femme Spy this week, a good femme friend of mine in Seattle who has given me all sorts of useful tips & advice as we’ve been talking about my relationship. (I’d like to think my butch perspective is useful too, but who knows.)Really, I highly recommend every butch have one of these. She goes up there with my handkerchief and my boots as butch necessities. (And I mean that in the greatest way.)
As she put it:
Job duties include:
Pumping up the egos of fragile, doubting butch friends
Flirting, subtly, but just enough to get noticed and stroke said egos
Giving helpful hints about where to get the good, cute, not too expensive, meaningful jewelry
Providing advice about where/when/how to pop Important, Lifechanging Questions
Offering Femme Insight during Relationship Crisis
Giving guidance on effective apologies
Reassurance before/after sending scary emails
Other duties, as assigned
We were talking about Valentine’s Day when this all came up, well, among other things. And just for the record? There are some things I would really like to receive for Valentine’s Day (or any other holiday/present-receiving activity, really) – things that I wouldn’t really buy for myself, but that I would love to have. Such as:
silver flask, very plain
nice bottle of scotch that I’d bust out for (very) special occasions
monogrammed handkerchiefs (yeah right, but hey, a butch can dream … )
Though some elaborate sex scene – a fantasy of mine brought to life? – would probably top everything. Although really, as long as I get laid I’m pretty satisfied. Wow, and now that I’m looking through Red Envelope online, there are a whole lot more of the men’s things that I’ve never seen. These hidden message collar stays are badass. And a monogrammed brander? That’s hardcore, and kind of makes me uncomfortably turned on.
When I asked Callie what it is she would want for Valentine’s Day, ideally (though I did mention that I’d already gotten her something and so it wouldn’t probably change what she was getting, I was just curious) she mentioned lingerie (“whatever would turn you on, ’cause that’s what it’s about, anyway”), and jewelry.
Speaking of lingerie … I gave Callie a copy of the story I wrote about our New Year’s Eve encounter. She … liked it, very much, to say the least. She said she’d forgotten about unbuttoning my shirt, and loved reading what the night was like for me. She’s never been with someone who was so into her femme role before, so that I am turned on by lingerie is kind of a novelty that she is really enjoying. So much, in fact, that she went out today and bought some new lingerie, that I am informed I will like, very much.
And, uh, hell, I’m enjoying it too.
Okay, one more thing, just in case I’m the butch spy for some of you femme readers: call me handsome, and I’ll seriously melt for you.
And speaking of you so-called femme readers: what would you just melt for, this Valentine’s Day? What do you always wish someone would’ve given you, but never have received?